It certainly doesn’t look the type of field in which to back players in single figures. Two players fall into that category, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson, and neither make much appeal at the odds. Garcia’s price is understandable given his 2008 form that has left him within striking distance of Tiger Woods spot as World No.1. It also augurs well that he finished 3rd here in 2006 when probably in worse form, but I can’t ever see myself taking a short price about Sergio on a course like this. His notoriously dodgy putting will have to stand up on all four days, or he could get left behind.
Stenson is priced on his great form in the desert, including two runners-up positions and never worse than 8th in three visits to Abu Dhabi. At his best, Stenson is clearly as good as almost anyone but while he may very well win, he’s simply not won anywhere near enough titles to warrant 8/1 odds against a field of this calibre.
Alternatively, PADRAIG HARRINGTON looks far better value at up to 13/1. Pod-watchers will know the rules about backing him inside out by now – only even consider it when confident that he’s up for it, as so much of his season’s schedule is geared towards a small number of elite events. In those, as three wins in the last six Majors proves, Ireland’s finest has no superiors bar Tiger. So consider the following comments from the man himself, and take the tip. Harrington says “I am focusing hard on my preparation and I think I’ll be ready with my ‘A’ game. This year I’ll be good to go.”